Zambia Access to information bill. In spite of numerous promises recorded earlier, government maintained it was still consulting and would present it in the first parliamentary session in 2014 after reconciling the law with conflicting legislation. By the end of the year, the bill had still not been tabled before parliament and the way forward remained unclear. JOURNALIST SAFETY Violations against journalists and media freedom In a bizarre turn of events, it was surprising to witness the reversal of a decision to grant nation-wide licenses to two prominent radio stations citing issues of national security and declaring only the state-owned media should broadcast nationwide. During the official opening of Parliament, various media houses were barred from covering the proceedings of the house in the chamber. Only state media and one privately owned, but government aligned, newspaper were allowed. This came after authorities cautioned against ‘irresponsible reporting’ of the president’s health. MISA Zambia later challenged the decision in court. Another major violation was the storming of the main public broadcaster, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Newsroom by government officials in alleged protest against stories carried by the outlet, further ordering removal of certain news items. FREE EXPRESSION ONLINE Government promises to meet digital migration deadlines The ministry of broadcasting and information launched the digital migration 80 So This is Democracy? 2014 policy and reassured stakeholders of commitment towards meeting the deadline set by the ITU. Publicity and public awareness activities commenced and trial dates for switch over set and later moved forward. Government condemns online media as unethical and intrusive There were numerous calls to regulate online media and condemnation by the government stating said media are unethical and intrusive. The government also clamped down on online media by restricting access to websites perceived to be critical, thereby relegating them to their social media pages. There was a notable increase in the number of online publications in the year under review, with more mainstream media improving their use of social media, a laudable move. President takes to Facebook Another move worth commendation was the establishment of a Facebook page by the republican President, allowing some level of interaction with the citizenry. LOOKING FORWARD TO 2015 Through most of the events characterising 2014, it is evident that so many steps have to be taken to ensure media freedom and freedom of expression are guaranteed and protected. The coming year offers some hope in view of the release of the final draft constitution with considerable laws offering solace to the fight for media freedom and guaranteed freedom of expression. This, however, will only be consummated by the subsequent adoption and enactment of the said constitution.